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Want to earn more American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points for regular spending? You may think using an American Airlines or British Airways co-branded credit card is your best option. But it isn’t!
Plus, until April 5, 2017, both cards are offering a limited-time increased sign-up bonus of 35,000 Starwood points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
I’ll explain why the AMEX Starwood cards are great to use for everyday spending. Especially if you want to rack-up more airline miles.
Earn a Big Bonus With the Starwood American Express Cards
Through April 5, 2017, you can earn up to 35,000 Starwood points on the personal and small business versions of the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express cards after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
You’ll also get:
- 2X Starwood points per $1 you spend at Starwood hotels (includes Aloft, Design Hotels, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Westin and W brand hotels)
- 1X Starwood point per $1 you spend on everything else
- Unlimited use of Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding in-flight)
- For small business cardholders, access to Sheraton Club lounges (free breakfast and hors d’oeuvres) for cardholder and 1 guest staying in the same room (3rd-party bookings are excluded).
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood Elite Status
- No foreign transaction fees
- Terms & limitations apply
The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year on both cards.
Note: AMEX will only give you the sign-up bonus for each card ONCE per lifetime.
Bonus Miles When You Transfer Starwood Points to Airlines
For every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to airline partners (with a 1:1 transfer ratio), you’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles (a 25% bonus!).
So for every $1 spent on the AMEX Starwood cards, you can get up to 1.25 airline miles! Meaning you’ll earn 25% more American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points for regular spending on the AMEX Starwood cards than on their own credit cards!
Because with American Airlines and British Airways co-branded cards, like the Citi American Airlines Platinum Select, Barclaycard American Airlines Aviator, and the Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card, you earn 1 mile or point per $1 spent on regular purchases that are NOT in a bonus category. And they all have the same $95 annual fee as the AMEX Starwood cards.
Great Ways to Use Starwood Points for Flights
1. American Airlines
American Airlines also has off-peak awards to:
- Mexico and the Caribbean for 12,500 American Airlines miles one-way
- Central America for 12,500 American Airlines miles one-way
- Hawaii for 20,000 American Airlines miles one-way
- Northern South America (includes Ecuador and Peru) for 17,500 American Airlines miles one-way
- Europe for 22,500 American Airlines miles one-way
- Asia for 32,500 American Airlines miles one-way
Be sure to check out my series about how to book award flights with American Airlines miles!
2. British Airways
British Airways is a distance-based program, and any coach flight within the US on their partner airlines, like Alaska Airlines or American Airlines, that’s under 1,151 miles, costs just 7,500 British Airways Avios points one-way.
When you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to British Airways, you’ll get 25,000 British Airways Avios points, which is more than enough for 3 one-way award flights.
This is a great way to get to Europe or visit the Caribbean. And folks on the West Coast can visit Hawaii for 12,500 British Airways Avios points each way!
Check out my series about how to book award flights with British Airways Avios points for more ideas!
What’s Regular Spending?
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Some credit cards offer bonus points on purchases that fall within a certain category, like travel, restaurants, or office supplies.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on purchases in these same categories.
Remember you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards directly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. So if you can earn bonus points, you should!
But there are lots of ordinary purchases that do NOT earn bonus points. Because they are not in a specific category, the most you’ll earn is 1 point per $1 spent.
Some everyday expenses that usually earn 1 mile or point per $1 spent are:
- Art supplies
- Child care
- Dentist bills
- Eye exams
- Gym memberships
- Hunting or fishing gear
- Lawn care
- License renewals
- Magazine subscriptions
- Netflix subscriptions
- Oil changes
- Pet food and supplies
- Yoga classes
- And lots of other services and items!
So there are lots of opportunities to earn points. Of course, the best way to earn miles and points with everyday spending is to earn sign-up bonuses on new cards!
But if you’re not trying to meet the minimum spending requirements on a new card, the AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards are a great option. Because you’ll earn 1.25 miles per $1 spent when you take the 5,000 bonus miles into account!
You’ll earn 5,000 bonus airline miles every time you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airline partners with a 1:1 transfer ratio.
That means with the AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards, you can effectively earn American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points at a rate of 1.25 miles or points per $1 spent. In fact, you’ll earn 1.25 miles or points per $1 spent with any airline that you can transfer Starwood points to at a 1:1 ratio.